Why are there no MiniDV tape players??

Viewing 8 reply threads
  • Author
    • #44398

      Could someone help me to understand why there seem to be no consumer-level MiniDV tape players? And why are they “pro only” in price when you do find them?

      For years we have shot on 5-10 grades of video cameras from consumer to pro; and all used MiniDV tapes. We firewire the camera to a PC port and convert the tapes to DV-AVI format then archive the tapes. Always hated it – to me it only adds hours of wear and tear on the tape mechanism in the cam and is usually inconvenient in the workflow. So I started looking for a simple MiniDV tape playback deck we could patch into the PC and avoid using the camera for playback.

      Mainly what I have found is $800-$2500 pro-grade tape decks. If I could afford one I’d grab it and not look back. There do not seem to be consumer-grade or prosumer grade decks at all. Can anyone explain how there can be $50-$200 video cameras which record and playback on MiniDV, but no matching decks – even from the same manufacturer? Is it a case of the recording formats used by different video cameras? Seems that if it was proprietary recording format you’d see Sony/Canon/etc sell their own brands of MiniDV players.

      What am I missing here?

    • #185927
      Grinner Hester

      the fact thatregular consumersjust play out of their camera.

    • #185928

      I understand that perspective grinner, but cams like the Canon’s GL2 or the XL series all use(d) MiniDV tape and to me those are/were not in the consumer range.

      Just seems that if its seen as a consumer-only format the same question applies and might illustrate the issue even more so.

    • #185929

      On ebay there are some MiniDV decks you might look into at reasonable Buy-it-now prices. I don’t know much about them, you could do the research. Panasonic AG-DV1 ($150), Sony GV-D900 ($260). As always with Ebay or other similar sites, check out the seller and know what you are buying. Good Luck.

    • #185930

      Why not use one of the $50-$200 cameras as your playback machine?

    • #185931

      That doesn’t always work though. I bought a $100 camera specifically for watching and transfering and it was glitchy because it didn’t want to read the video I captured from my SONY VX2100 and Panasonic.

      I thought it might be the camera so I tried to record some from it and transfer and it all worked fine. But not for the inported tapes.

      I ended up taking the camera back where I bought it.

    • #185932

      I’veonly used a miniDV once and that was to capture from it to my computer to edita school projectfor myson and his classmates.I don’t know ifthe footage on a tape from one camera might be in a compatible format (24fps, 29.97fps, etc.) for another camera to play it back. Pardon my ignorance here about this type of camcorder.Would this be a comsideration in choosing a cheaper cam to use as a deck?

    • #185933

      Well that’s what I was saying. It’s kind of a crap shoot. Because not all cameras will read other camera’s footage. I believe the crap cam I bought for playing and transfering was a JVC. I tried to play footage captured from a SONY and Panasonic camera at the SP setting (LP is even more iffy). It was very glitchy. The sound was choppy and the video was jumpy.

      On the other hand, when I use the Panasonic $600 cam to watch and transfer, it reads and transfers SP and LP fine from any camera.

      So like I said, it’s a crap shoot. Just make sure the store you buy it from has a good return policy… Just in case.

    • #185934

      I think CraftersOfLight and Eventvideoguy illustrated the solution we have used, an older cam unit to use as playback. We have 4 matching cams and use #4 (used from Ebay) as the playback deck.

      But I think I formed the question wrong – its not a matter of what to do about it, but rather a curiosity over why. Just don’t understand how the tape drive transport mechanisms can be so cheap and plentiful but not found in simple playback decks.

Viewing 8 reply threads
  • The forum ‘Production Gear’ is closed to new topics and replies.

Best Products

The best digital storage for video editors — 2021

As digital video resolutions increase, our need for storage increases as well. If you’re ready to step up to a new storage solution, you’re in the right place.

Need help making a stellar first video?


Download our free eBook with 8 tips to get on the right track and create a video that you can be proud of.



Given away to one lucky winner

Competition is open worldwide